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Day 8: Aokigahara Forest and other Suicide Spots

31 Days of Halloween: On Atlas Obscura this month, every day is Halloween. Stop by the blog every day this month for true tales of the unquiet dead. Come for the severed heads, stay for the book bound in human skin. Every story is true, and each one is a real place you can visit. We dare you. 

Places where people choose to end it all, popular enough to require signs asking people not to do it.

Called “the perfect place to die,” the Aokigahara forest has the unfortunate distinction as the world’s second most popular place to take one’s life. Since the 1950s, hundreds of Japanese businessmen, students, and housewives have wandered into the forest with the intention of never walking back out.

People taking their lives within the forest is a common enough problem that signs such as  ”Your life is a precious gift from your parents,” and “Please consult the police before you decide to die!” are posted on trees throughout the forest. Locals say they can easily spot the three types of visitors to the forest: trekkers interested in scenic vistas of Mount Fuji, the curious hoping for a glimpse of the macabre, and those souls who don’t plan on returning.

The suicides leave an unfortunate scene for workers to clean up. The workers must carry the bodies down from the forest to the local station, where the bodies are put in a special room used specifically to house suicide corpses. The forest workers then play jan-ken-pon—rock, paper, scissors—to see who has to sleep in the room with the corpse.

Other popular suicide spots around the world include the Golden Gate Bridge, the most popular suicide spot in the world, Beachy Head - England’s most popular suicide location - and Turisalu Cliff a popular suicide spot in Estonia.

Come for the forest, stay for the forever…

AOKIGAHARA FOREST, Yamanasi, Japan